It’s a woof life

Too much good weather has forced Jean Gillette to once again dip into her archives.


A standing joke in my family has always been that in our next life, we are coming back as our dog. No one received as much tender, loving treatment around our house as ay given canine we either owned or lived near. That applies to the 10th power around my house today.

A recent PBS special summed it up nicely. When queried as to the wisdom of having domesticated the wolf, the response was that there are millions of happy, highly pampered dogs and only a handful of wild wolves.

I learned animal husbandry and common sense from my dad, a man with a natural affinity for dogs. He was so caring of our critters, and yet never sentimentalized them. Unless ill, they ate dry food. If they were ailing, however, they got a hand-diced stew of careful proportions. They slept in the garage, unless the temperature seriously dropped.

“Remember,” my dad often quipped. “They’re wearing a full-length fur coat.”

Dad shakes his head, when he hears me speaking baby talk to my pooches. But they make me laugh as much my kids do. Maybe more, now that they’re teenagers.

Even as I type this, one of them has crawled off my carefully placed keep-the-dog-hair-off sheet, wriggling between my clean flannel sheets and comforter, shedding dirt and hair in her path. I shrug and decide it will be easier to take a lint roller to my bed rather than distress her by dragging her out.

They get top-drawer vet care and scraps under the table. They get scratched, bathed and brushed, and snooze the day long on the furniture. It rarely takes more than a look and a lick to make me forgive them any number of heinous sins involving chewing favorite shoes, wolfing down half a birthday cake or leaving drifts of dog hair in the corners of my living room.

I like to think we have reached a happy medium of “trained enough to be healthy, but relaxed enough to be happy.” And if there turns out to be any truth to reincarnation, I absolutely want dibs on being a dog belonging to any of my descendants.

Jean Gillette misses her dogs and her dad. Contact her at



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